Astride sturdy, tall, dark-brown horses, my companion and I ride. Smaller beings in wispy whitish clothing cling to the horses backs behind us. Tricked by the gatekeeper, he leads us into the hands of the enemy. Small men wearing thick black suits with half-circle indentations greet us and begin to disable our horses, cutting muscle and ligament, yet our steeds continue to stand tall. One of the men is cutting my hand between my pinky and ring finger, with shears, deeply, and I wake, shaking.
5 am, not going back to sleep after that one…get up, make tea, purchase two cinnamon-sugar cake donuts and a carton of milk on my way to the city. Traffic is light and it’s still dark. Golden Gate bridge toll: six dollars . Early bird special = seventeen dollars to park for 4 hours. What a deal! I’m 30 minutes early, Starbucks is warm and cozy, but they don’t have a bathroom and nothing else is open yet. I study the Chemistry text I brought along.
At 7:30 I wait with a small throng, in an office building at the foot of Coit Tower. We go in, take numbers, wait again. High security, no cheating, no food, no beverages, not even a watch. Three hours in a cubicle with a computer. The person next to me groans occasionally, and several times mutters “you gotta be kidding me”. I emerge, cross-eyed, relieved, not as hard as I thought it would be.
When I get back to Marin, the sky over the college looks like this:
This morning, between pancakes for the sleepy teenager, I’m online, checking my results. 88.7%, Advanced, 99th percentile, YA HOO! I may get into Nursing school after all.
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